I Changed My Mind

The dialogue continues because the critic continues to raise interesting and worthwhile objections. And I thought I’d use this public space again to address them (his comments in italics):


I’m not sure what admission you’re referring to. If you’re referring to the nurses medical observations contradicting Michael Schiavo’s claims, they are 10 years old and no longer relevent. If you’re referring to the nurses claims that Michael was running the place and slowly killing his wife, that doesn’t change the fact that she’s dead. Prosecute him, don’t persecute her.

As for the observable, demonstrable facts: doctors testified, under oath, putting their professional credibility on the line, that brain scans show large portions of Terri’s brain have been replaced with spinal fluid. Unless there is someone willing to testify otherwise, thems the facts as far as the law is concerned. And here’s a picture.

Your contention of certainty is confounding. First, why did 17 doctors file affidavits stating that Terri needed to be reexamined?

You admitted earlier that the sworn testimony of the nurse who cared for Terri from April 1995 to August 1996 could have been right about Terri’s not-so-vegetative condition then but she didn’t know what she’s talking about now. What about this nurse who was just fired for speaking out against Michael Schiavo’s wishes? Is she out of touch, too?

Then you link to the CT scan of Terri’s brain from 1996 that you say presents incontrovertible proof that her brain has largely turned to spinal fluid? So which is it: the nurse from 1996 is lying or the scan doesn’t show what you think it does?

But maybe you hadn’t read this expert assessment of the scan first:

First of all, the University of Miami’s appellation for this scan is inaccurate. “Cortical regions” are not and can not be filled with spinal fluid. The sulci (spaces between cortical ribbons) are enlarged secondary to cortical atrophy and these sulci are filled with cerbrospinal fluid.

The most alarming thing about this image, however, is that there certainly is cortex left. Granted, it is severely thinned, especially for Terri’s age, but I would be nonplussed if you told me that this was a 75 year old female who was somewhat senile but fully functional, and I defy a radiologist anywhere to contest that.

I HAVE SEEN MANY WALKING, TALKING, FAIRLY COHERENT PEOPLE WITH WORSE CEREBRAL/CORTICAL ATROPHY. THEREFORE, THIS IS IN NO WAY PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE THAT TERRI SCHIAVO’S MENTAL ABILITIES OR/OR CAPABILITIES ARE COMPLETELY ERADICATED. I CANNOT BELIEVE SUCH TESTIMONY HAS BEEN GIVEN ON THE BASIS OF THIS SCAN.

The worrisome, no alarming thing, for me, was that I heard a bioethicist and several important figures on the major media describe Terri’s brain as MUCH WORSE. One “expert” said that she had a “bag of water” in her head. Several experts described her as a “brain stem preparation”

These statements are wholly inaccurate. This is an atrophied brain, yes, but there is cortex remaining, and where there’s cortex (?life) there’s hope.

If you starve this woman to death it would be, in my professional and experienced medical opinion, the equivalent of starving to death a 75-85 year old person. I would take that to the witness stand.

Who wrote this? His credentials speak for themselves:

An M.D. graduate of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

After a medical internship and a year in the emergency room at Jacobi Hospital in the Bronx, did a four year Radiology residency at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center.

Spent the last 15 years as a 24/7/365 inpatient radiologist in South Florida.

But I suppose the critic knows more. Maybe he could join us in wondering why – as pieces of evidence mount up to suggest that Terri is certainly not brain-dead or a worthless piece of human flesh to be discarded – Judge Greer ignored such important evidence in his initial fact-finding and why it would be so wrong to grant a temporary injunction, replace the feeding tube, and hold a de novo hearing?

Comments

  1. SWP says

    The real truth here is that if Terri had been born in this condition she have been cared for and loved all of her life.

  2. says

    You can present all the “evidence” you like. I wasn’t aware the CT scan was from 1996, but as I said, I’m no doctor, so I don’t know what it shows anyhow. The radiologists analysis is interesting, but as you just pointed out, the CT scan is from 1996, 9 years old.

    The 17 doctors that signed affadavits were denied by the court because it was determined from other doctors testimony that there was no new technology that could help her.

    And again, this new nurse is offering evidence against Michael Schiavo, not that Terri is not a vegetable. Prosecute him, don’t persecute her.

    In the end, the only evidence that matters is that presented in court. If this is all so convincing, why haven’t 5 courts (by my count) seen fit to act on it?

    Strike Two

    In a 2-1 ruling early Wednesday, a panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta said the parents “failed to demonstrate a substantial case on the merits of any of their claims” that Terri’s feeding tube should be reinserted immediately.

    “There is no denying the absolute tragedy that has befallen Mrs. Schiavo,” the ruling said. “We all have our own family, our own loved ones, and our own children. However, we are called upon to make a collective, objective decision concerning a question of law.”

  3. says

    Why haven’t five (or however many) courts seen fit to act on it? Because only Judge Greer has entertained evidence about Terri’s condition. The other courts have been restricted to reviewing whether the law was applied correctly in Judge Greer’s court, not whether Judge Greer’s decision was correct based on the facts.

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